The Purpose Driven Life
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
LOVING YOUR CHURCH
Ephesians 2:19 says, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” 1 Timothy 3:15 says, “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” None of us can fulfill the purposes of God by ourselves, we need to be in fellowship.
While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family we are connected to every other believer and we will belong to each other for eternity. Ephesians 4:16, “Christ makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy, growing and full of love.”
Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. Romans 12:5 says, “We, being many, are one body in Christ, and we all belong to each other.” To Paul being a member of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indespensible interconnected part of the Body of Christ. For the organs of your body to fulfill their purpose they must be connected and so you must be connected to your church.
You were created for a specific role and you will discover your role through your relationships with others. Romans 12:4 says, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function.” If an organ is somehow severed from the body, it will die. Disconnected from the lifeblood of your local church, your spiritual life will eventually cease to exist.
The first symptom of spiritual decline is ususually inconsistent attendance to worship services. The church will always exist and so will your role in it. The person who says, “I don’t need church.” is either arrogant or ignorant. The Bible calls the church ‘the bride of Christ’ and ‘the Body of Christ.’ The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
The Bible says a Christian without a church is like an organ without a body or a child without a family. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Individualism nowadays has created many spiritual orphans. The Bible offers many compelling reasons for being active in a local fellowship.
When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, race and social status, it is powerful witness to the world. John 17:21 says, “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Showing love proves that you are a genuine believer. John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In the local church you learn how to get along with other believers. That is where you learn to put into practice unselfish love. Before we came to Christ we are all egotistical. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” Only in regular contact with imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship.
Real fellowship means caring for one another and willingness to share your sorrows to another person. It means not being easily offended by thinking the worst of someone’s acts, but by trying to think the best of everyone. God expects us to readily forgive each other. God is teaching us to patiently listen to one anothers burdens. In other words we are learning to practice Godly love on each other.
Ephesians 4:16 says, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” We are commanded to love, to pray, to encourage, to serve, to teach, to honor, to accept, to submit, to forgive each other and to bear each other’s burden. This is what is meant by biblical membership.
Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop and use your gifts. God has a unique role for each of you. 1 Corinthians 12:7, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” You may also have a wider ministry in addition to your service to the local church. We are not just to model God’s by loving each other, we are to show this love to the rest of the world.
As members of Christ’ body, we are His hands, His feet, His eyes and His heart. God works through us in the world. We each have a contribution to make. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” This is called your ministry and He has gifted you and me for this assignment.
The church family will help you against attacks from Satan, the world and your flesh. None of us are immune to temptation. We are all still under the influence of sin. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.” So God has assigned us as individuals the responsibility to keep others from wavering spiritually and falling for the lies of the wicked one.